Monthly Archives: August 2009

A good time to be a jihadist

Terrorists and their supporters are having a good run, as Jed Babbin shows. Last week, Scotland released Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi, who murdered 270 people, including 189 Americans 11 Scots, by placing a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988. Megrahi, who was released (at least ostensibly) for reasons of “compassion,” received the welcome of a returning hero when he arrived in Libya. Violent extremists throughout the world »

Back-to-back for Venezuela

John must be fully immersed in the practice of law, for he has not reported on last night’s Miss Universe contest. I did not see the contest, but can report that Miss Venezuela, Stefania Fernandez, gave her country back-to-back winners. She will succeed her country-woman, Dayana Mendoza, as Miss Universe. The runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic, the Barack Obama fan whose beauty John displayed here. The other finalists hailed from »

From the milk carton files

We know where Minnesota Senator Al Franken stands on socialized health care. He ran as a frank supporter of it. What about Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar? She makes a moderate appearance and has been slightly more discreet than Franken. Apparently preferring not to face the voters directly on this issue, Senator Klobuchar had scheduled a pseudo townhall by teleconference. Reader Greg B. files this report, with a disarming personal twist: »

What the world needs now

…is Jackie DeShannon. DeShannon celebrated her birthday this past Friday. She is of course the artist who brought the quintessential Hal David-Burt Bacharach composition “What the World Needs Now” to life (with Bacharach’s production, if I’m not mistaken) in 1965. Following the form of a prayer or sermon, the song remains timely these many years later. The form recalls the style of Johnny Mercer’s “Accentuate the Positive,” though so unobtrusively »

Party like it’s 1993

The political landscape in 2009 resembles that of 1993 so much that it’s scary, at least if you’re a Democrat. My Examiner column considers the extent to which 2010 is likely to resemble 1994. I argue that the biggest variable between the upcoming cycle and the glorious one of 15 years ago is the severity of the current recession: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were both elected thanks in large »

Inglorious Basterds: A brief dissent

We went to see Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” last night. It is one of the few films I wanted to see this summer, but I found it disappointing. If you see one movie this summer, I would implore you to see “The Hurt Locker,” with respect to which we elicited Stephen Hunter’s review here. See also the Wall Street Journal’s excellent profile of “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow here. “Inglorious »

Paulie Wuz Robbed

Last night I watched Paulie Malignaggi fight Juan Diaz in Diaz’s home town, Houston. Paulie is a slick junior welterweight from Brooklyn. He doesn’t have much power and uses his right sparingly because it has been frequently broken. But he is very fast and skillful and entered the bout 27-2, with his only losses to Hatton and Cotto. Diaz, 34-2 going in, is a good fighter and a bright guy; »

Driving lessons

The American love affair with the automobile provides many lessons in freedom. Thirty years ago B. Bruce-Biggs devoted a book to The War Against the Automobile. In his chapter on the highway system, Bruce-Biggs noted that the one can go almost anywhere in the United States via highway. “If the preferred route is blocked or congested by some failure or by heavy traffic, you can select an alternate route,” Bruce-Biggs »

Free Falling

The American people’s disenchantment with Barack Obama and his administration continues to grow. In today’s Rasmussen survey, Obama reaches the lowest point yet recorded: a -14 on Rasmussen’s “approval index.” Only 27 percent now “strongly approve” of Obama’s performance, while 41 percent “strongly disapprove.” Here is the chart (click to enlarge): Two observations: first, while poll results bounce around from day to day, Obama’s trend is obvious. He does not »

Clunkers on overtime: An update

Yesterday we wrote about the call to employees of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to put in overtime this weekend on the Cash for Clunkers program. The overtime had been authorized to catch up on the massive backlog of paperwork confronting the DoT. Auto dealers who have completed sales to customers under the program are awaiting payment of the government’s share of the deal. A reader »

Paul Rahe: Obama to elderly: Drop dead!

Hillsdale College history professor Paul Rahe writes to comment on the current political scene: Why are the Democrats in such trouble? I think that the answer is three-fold. First, as I argued in my last Power Line post, the so-called “stimulus bill” was passed in both the House and the Senate in a manner suggestive of tyranny. It was written in camera with the help of a legion of lobbyists, »

At Dartmouth, the more things change. . .

Our friend Joe Asch tells us he will be blogging at Dartblog, the site about all things Dartmouth that our associate Joe Malchow started five years ago when he was a freshman at the college. This is a welcome development; Joe Asch is perhaps the best-informed, most astute critic of Dartmouth I know. In Joe’s first post, he criticizes the decision of Dartmouth’s new president, Jim Kim, to reappoint Barry »

Another take on Obama’s recklessness

Bill Otis offers a powerful analysis of President Obama’s current woes: It seems to me that the explanation for Obama’s current woes is simple: He over-read his mandate, to the extent there ever was a “mandate.” When you campaign on vacuous nonsense like “Yes We Can!” and “Hope and Change” and other such empty bromides, your victory hardly betokens a public desperate for specific and massive changes affecting intensely personal »

Miss Universe: A Final Preview

The finale of the Miss Universe pageant will take place tomorrow night in the Bahamas and will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 9:00 eastern. The preliminary round has already been webcast; you can see it here. It’s not bad. The contestants generally look great, but there isn’t a lot of action–basically just walking up and down the runway in swimsuits and evening gowns. It almost makes you miss »

What you mean we wee, keemosabe?

Preaching to his flock at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington this week, Barack Obama disparaged the Washington scene: [L]ast year just about this time, you’ll recall that the Republicans had just nominated their Vice Presidential candidate, and everybody was — the media was obsessed with it, and cable was 24 hours a day, and “Obama’s lost his mojo.” (Laughter.) You remember all that? (Laughter.) There’s something about August »

Clunkers on overtime

The Cash for Clunkers program is dying prematurely this coming Monday as it rapidly falls into administrative chaos. The New York Post reports in an excellent editorial that frustrated New York dealers put the pedal to the metal this week — in a race to exit the program: “About half the 425 members of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association say they dropped out. Why? Because Washington’s bureaucrats were »

Letting terrorists go, part 2

Kristofer Harrison writes to comment on John’s post on the release of the Lilbyan mass murderer Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. Mr. Harrison is the former Chief of Staff to the Counselor of the Secretary of State, a position he filled during the Bush administration. He comments: I thought you might be interested in a conversation I had in London in mid-April (!) with very senior UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials »